Party at these 13 New England Oktoberfests this fall

Participants in a Stein Hoisting competition see how long they can hold their pint.
Friday, October 13, 2013 at Samuel Adams Octoberfest at the Park Plaza Castle in Boston. Photo by Laurie Swope
Participants in a stein-hoisting competition see how long they can hold their pint at the 2013 Samuel Adams Octoberfest. –Laurie Swope

Sure, autumn is a time for pumpkins, changing leaves, and Halloween. It’s also a time for German beer and cuisine — and lots of it.

Welcome to Oktoberfest season. Ahead, discover 13 Oktoberfests taking place across New England this fall.

In the Boston area

The crowd at a previous Harvard Square Oktoberfest. —Harvard Square Business Association

Dorchester Brewing Company Oktoberfest
Devour beer-filled doughnuts and New Orleans food with a German twist (brat po’boy, anyone?) while knocking back a brew served in a traditional German liter stein. (Saturday, Sept. 23; Dorchester; free; all ages)

Harpoon Octoberfest
Harpoon has been fine-tuning its seasonal event for more than two decades. The three-day festival takes place in the Seaport brewery’s parking lots. Head there for pints of Harpoon and UFO, German cake eating, three stages of live music, trivia, brewery tours, and chicken dance contests. A bonus on Sunday: food truck brunch. (Thursday, Sept. 28 to Sunday, Oct. 1; Boston; $25; 21+)

Olde Magoun’s Saloon Oktoberfest
Gather for a ceremonial keg tapping at 12:30 p.m. Inside the keg will be Paulaner Weisn, the same beer poured during Oktoberfest in Munich. Then, from 1 to 4 p.m., munch on German fare and listen to traditional German music. (Saturday, Sept. 30; Somerville; free; all ages)


ReelHouse Oktoberfest
Toast your friends on a patio overlooking picturesque Boston Harbor with 4-ounce beer samples from Down East Cider in East Boston, Mystic Brewing in Chelsea, Castle Island in Norwood, Night Shift Brewing in Everett, Magic Hat Brewing in Vermont, and more. Pair those with large pretzels with German beer and cheese sauce, grilled bratwurst with grainy mustard and onions, braised pork shanks with potato salad, and apple and walnut strudel with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. Tickets must be purchased in advance. (Saturday, Sept. 30; Boston, $10; all ages)

Harvard Square Oktoberfest and Honk! Parade
Go beer garden hopping at Alden & Harlow, Beat Brasserie, Charlie’s Kitchen, the Hourly, John Harvard’s Brewery & Ale House, and the Sinclair. Then join the party in Harvard Square, which will be alive with German food, five different stages of music, free samples, and shopping that includes arts and crafts, sidewalk sales, and vintage goods. As an added treat, the lively Honk! Festival of Activist Street Bands, complete with music and costumes, will march from Somerville to join in. (Sunday, Oct. 8; Harvard Square, Cambridge; free; all ages)

Samuel Adams Octoberfest
Take a turn on the inflatable hop slide and join a stein-hoisting competition while listening to music from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Kongos, and City of the Sun. Of course, you’ll be able to taste a variety of Samuel Adams beers. Food vendors will on-hand, too. (Friday, Oct. 27; World Trade Center Concourse, Boston; $45 general admission, $85 VIP; 21+)

Throughout New England

Revelers at a previous Mount Snow Oktoberfest. —Mount Snow

Oktoberfest at Anheuser-Busch
Anheuser-Busch is hosting a month-long Oktoberfest celebration in Merrimack, New Hampshire, that includes fire pit parties, live comedy, photo opportunities with a Clydesdale, and New England Patriots viewing parties. It will all culminate with a costume party on Oct. 14. (Saturday, Sept. 16 to Saturday, Oct. 14; Merrimack, New Hampshire; free; all ages, but contest party is 21+)

Swine & Stein Oktoberfest
Would you like a side of shenanigans with your beer? Then this all-day street party is the Oktoberfest for you. Sure, guests will sample Maine craft beers and dishes featuring local pork while listening to local bands perform throughout the day. Yes, the festival is family-friendly, with a petting zoo, giant Jenga, and other kids’ activities. But take note: Attendees can also compete in a frozen T-shirt race, a beard and mustache competition, and the Maine rock, paper, scissors championship. (Saturday, Oct. 7; Gardiner, Maine; $20, kids are free; all ages)


Sip seasonal, craft, domestic, and imported brews in Providence’s waterfront Bold Point Park. Or play with your beer: Guests will be able to compete in a stein-hoisting contest, beer pong, and flip cup. The festival is for all ages, but there won’t be any activities for children. (Saturday, Oct. 7; East Providence, Rhode Island; $15 in advance, $20 day of event, kids 12 and under are free; all ages)

Mount Snow Oktoberfest
At this two-day Mount Snow party, the beer comes with spectacular leaf peeping. Guests can ride the Bluebird Express to the summit to view foliage, and taste beer from 25 different German and domestic breweries while deciding which contest to enter: the schnitzel toss, the keg toss, or the yodeling competition. Kids’ activities will include a bounce house and pumpkin painting, and there will also be an arts and crafts show and a 5k beer run. (Saturday, Oct. 7 and Sunday, Oct. 8; Dover, Vermont; $25 one-day pass, $35 two-day pass for drinkers; $12 for one-day pass, $20 for two-day pass for non-drinkers, kids 6 and under are free; all ages)

White Mountain Oktoberfest
Ride a gondola to a beer classroom at the summit of Loon Mountain in the White National Forest, where representatives from Samuel Adams will share brewing secrets and beer samples. Or take the gondola to a mountaintop yoga class, if deep breathing is more your speed. Down below, guests will enjoy beer and brats, listen to live music, and take part in stein-hoisting and keg tossing contests. Kids’ activities will include a root beer keg toss and pumpkin painting. (Saturday, Oct. 7 and Sunday, Oct. 8, Loon Mountain, Lincoln, New Hampshire; free entry, some activities have a price; all ages)

New Bedford Oktoberfest
Sip beers from several local breweries, such as Buzzard’s Bay Brewing, Cisco Brewing, Narragansett Brewing Company, and Von Trapp Brewery, along the waterfront at State Pier Ferry Terminal. Nosh from food trucks, like Fancheezical, The Baker, Two Sisters, and The Bearded Chicken, while live music plays. (Saturday, Oct. 14; New Bedford; $15 in advance, $20 at the door; all ages)

Chatham Oktoberfest
Stroll through Kate Gould Park with a beer and a bratwurst, and take selfies with the popular “Pumpkin People in the Park” — creative displays of life-sized “people” who have pumpkins for heads  — created by local businesses, organizations, and residents. Enjoy live music and performers, kids’ games, crafts, food truck fare, and, naturally, a beer trailer. (Saturday, Oct. 21; Chatham; free; all ages) 


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